MIDLAND, TX - There's no tying in baseball. Not unless you run out of pitchers at an all-star game, that is.
With Frisco Roughriders RHP Billy Sylvester unable to continue after the ninth inning of Monday's Texas League All-Star Game, league president Tom Kayser, along with team managers Webster Garrison of Midland and Frank White of Wichita, and umpire crew chief and home plate umpire Paul Chandler, decided to end the game in a 4-4 tie, much to the dismay of the 7,112 in attendance. The overflowing crowd broke the previous record at the First American Bank Ballpark.
What had been an entertaining game all-around both on and off the field came to an anticlimactic end just two hours and ten minutes after first pitch. Even though the game ended in a tie, the Midland crowd did not go home without watching some spectacular baseball. In this game, what is apparently normal weather conditions for those in Midland came as a surprise to this reporter.
Within one hour of the first pitch, what had been a hot and dry day became rain-filled and dust-covered, only to end with a rainbow splitting the field in two, with sun beaming down in left and clouds hovering above right.
EL Paso Diablos OF Marland Williams provided the spark for the West All-Stars. Down 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Williams scored the game-tying run after stealing second base and moving to third on a groundout by San Antonio Missions CF Dustin Delucchi. Williams' teammate, SS Sergio Santos, then hit a single to right field which allowed Williams to walk home and solidify his selection as the "Star of the Game".
Williams attempted to write my lede in the bottom of the third by scoring the West's first run with an inside-the-park home run to right center. The wind-aided ball sailed past Arkansas Travelers RF Nick Gorneault and Williams never slowed to beat the relay throw by three steps. That started the fireworks.
The Arkansas contingent provided all of the scoring for the East in the second and third innings as Gorneault hit a two-run home run and Arkansas SS Alberto Callaspo and 3B Dallas McPherson both contributed RBI singles in the top of the third.
The 2004 All-Star Game is the third in 12 years to end in a draw for the Texas League, as the 1993 game in Wichita and the 2002 contest in Round Rock also fell to the same fate. The league's rules state that the All-Star Game can only go 10 innings, as there are only eight pitchers per team to begin with.
Yesterday, the East starter - Tulsa Drillers LHP Jeff Francis - and the West starter - Midland Rockhounds RHP Shawn Komine - pitched only two innings apiece.
With Sylvester completing his one inning of work in the scoreless ninth and no pitchers remaining, the decision was made to end the game. The lone Missions representative on-hand for the game, Delucchi, went 0-4 from the leadoff position.
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